Er Rachidia, previously known as Ksar es Souk, was renamed after independence for the first Alaouite leader, 17th-century sultan Moulay Rachid. The present town was established by the French, initially by the Foreign Legion, as a military and administrative centre, a role it retains today. The town, with its mix of new concrete and older mud-walled buildings, has little in the way of sights beyond a 19th-century ksar near the Erfoud exit, but it is a convenient stopping point at the meeting of routes to Ouarzazate, Erfoud (south), Midelt and Meknès (north), and distant Figuig (east), and so has reasonable facilities and a relaxed atmosphere. It is generally used by visitors as an overnight stop on a ‘round the High Atlas’ circuit and makes a good place to pause before heading down to Rissani (more crumbling kasbahs) and the dunes of Merzouga. If you can’t get accommodation at Merzouga or Erfoud, the dunes are visitable from Er Rachidia on a long day out. Evenings in the town are pleasant, with lots of people out strolling in the streets after the heat of the day and the main market days are Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
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